Talking with someone for the first time can go in a few directions—conversation can feel stilted and forced, or words can flow with ease and topics take pleasant turns like a gentle breeze. An interview with therapist Tammie Rosenbloom yielded the latter.
For Lake Minnetonka Magazine, it made sense to speak with Rosenbloom during a walk through a quiet, wooded pathway weaving through an area near her Minnetonka office, where she is part of two therapy businesses—Minnetonka Counseling and Walk Talk Therapy, launched more than five years ago.
Walk Talk Therapy is precisely that. Rosenbloom and her clients take walks during therapy sessions. Today, with an office in Minnetonka, which opened last August, walks are taken along a paved pathway, which winds its way through wooded terrain and along a small lake—just steps away from her office.
“For a while, I didn’t want to have an office, because I didn’t want to encourage more sitting, because we do enough sitting,” Rosenbloom says. “And I wanted people to be active and to move.” Having an office enables her to take on clients with Minnetonka Counseling, and it gives Walk Talk clients the option to use the office in case of inclement weather, or if there are times when they want to remain indoors. “If we are inside, I feel like the outside is coming in because we’re overlooking a wetland,” she says.
A therapist for over 30 years, Rosenbloom had plenty of experience to draw from prior to developing Walk Talk. “I’m a walker,” she says. “It’s something that I did with my family growing up, and when I moved to Minneapolis when my oldest was an infant, walking was something I would do. I would push my kids in the stroller, or they’d ride their bikes. We’d go for a walk.”
The mother of three now-adult children thought about combining her love of walking and therapy, but the timing wasn’t right for her to begin the program. “I thought, you know, this would be great to meet with people and walk and do therapy, but I was busy raising my family, so I didn’t have time to start the business, and I was working,” she says.
There is a season for everything, and Rosenbloom’s opportunity to embark on her dream arrived. “When my youngest was going off to college, and I was facing the empty nest, I was like, this is my time,” she says.
“I did research on this to see who else was doing walking therapy, and no one in the area was doing it.”
Rosenbloom found a therapist who offered the therapy in New York City. In New York for her son’s college graduation, she contacted the therapist. “I hired him, and we walked in Central Park, and I just asked him a lot of questions about his practice. I loved it. It was so great,” she says.
Clients love it, too. “I think it’s easier for people to have conversations sometimes when they’re not looking eye to eye,” Rosenbloom says. Sitting across from a therapist “can be intimidating, and for someone who has more difficulty sustaining eye contact, Walk Talk works really well,” she says.
Sessions are typically 50 minutes, and Rosenbloom doesn’t exceed four walking sessions a day. “I’ve walked with couples, people and their dogs, as long as someone’s dog won’t distract them,” she says. “To me, it’s a great equalizer," she explains with a laugh. "‘Oh, she’s getting out of breath. She’s a real person.’ If it’s hot in the summer, [clients] might see me sweat. It’s OK. I’m a real human.”
Rosenbloom is open to other outdoor options, as well, including paddle boarding and other tandem activities. She says she’d like to purchase two treadmills for the office, which could be used when the weather is grumpy.
Regardless of how or where her clients receive therapy, many hold the same goal—solutions. “I’m seeing people want skills. They want techniques. They want ideas for what they can do,” Rosenbloom says. While some clients just want to talk and get support, others need more concrete tools. “People want to see change,” she says. “They want to get better, and I want to help them get there.”
Rosenbloom is energized when clients reach their emotional destinations. “It’s so invigorating to me when a light bulb goes on for them,” she says. “They make insights. They start changing. They feel better about themselves. They have a mastery over something they’ve been struggling with. It’s really exciting as a therapist to see people improve and change.”
Tammie Rosenbloom is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. She’s also the coordinator of a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program for young adults in St. Paul.